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Photo by Aileen Humphreys
Banning resident Tom ‘Snake Dancer’ Troutman unloads props from a truck near the Harvey House on Friday as part of the Mojave Trail Days to be held on Saturday and Sunday.

Gunfighting, history demonstrations mark annual Mojave Trail Days

BARSTOW — When a gun battle breaks out near the Harvey House this weekend, don’t call the police.

A replica of a fictional old Western town called Bloody Gulch will be built as part of Mojave Trail Days, an event which celebrates life in the 1800s. The event, sponsored by the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce and the Newberry Springs-based Sons of the Badlands Re-enactors group, will take place for the third year on Saturday and Sunday. The event features dozens of volunteer stuntmen and impersonators of famous Old West characters and has grown every year, said Lester Larceny, aka Butch Shimer, an organizer of the event.

Activities this year will also include cooking competitions, costume contests and musical acts. Six teams of gunfighters will compete for cash prizes and put on skits to entertain spectators, Shimer said.

He said he expects 3,000 to 5,000 people to attend the free event. All funds raised from the proceeds of the vendors and gunfighting competitions will go to a variety of local organizations. The groups which will benefit include the Barstow Boys and Girls club and the Happy Trails foundation in Apple Valley, which works with victims of child abuse.

Harvey Higley, an Apple Valley resident, comes to the trail days every year to fire off his single action Colt 45 pistol and put on a skit for the kids.

He and all re-enactors fire blanks— gunpowder packed with a bit of Styrofoam – instead of using real bullets.

“It gives you that BOOM, that big bang that makes people jump back,” he said.

Higley said he participates every year to benefit area children and because he enjoys stepping into character.

“It gives the youngsters something neat to see,” Higley said, “Something that they’ve never seen before except maybe on TV.”

Contact the writer:

(760) 256-4126 or jason_smith@link.freedom.com


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